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Graham Read
Formula 1 Correspondent
5:44 PM 29th February 2020

Coronavirus Causes Australian Grand Prix Concerns

Ferrari’s engaging team principal Mattia Binotto has understandable concerns
Ferrari’s engaging team principal Mattia Binotto has understandable concerns
The new Formula 1 season is set to kick off in two weeks’ time with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. However, concerns have arisen about arrangements for personnel travelling to the race and especially those from Italy where the impact of coronavirus has been particularly hard felt.

AlphaTauri, the other Italian based Formula 1 team
AlphaTauri, the other Italian based Formula 1 team
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has expressed the concerns of many by seeking assurances from F1 owners Liberty Media and the sport’s governing body, the FIA, that there will be no entry or quarantine issues when staff arrive in Australia during the build-up to the three day event. This weekend there has been a Formula 2 pre-season test in Bahrain and Italian teams have faced significant problems in trying to attend.

Let’s hope a full grid of 20 cars starts the 2020 Australian Grand Prix, as last year
Let’s hope a full grid of 20 cars starts the 2020 Australian Grand Prix, as last year
As Binotto explained, “We need to protect our employees and before we leave for Australia the picture has to be known and clear”, adding that the situation does not only affect his own team and the other Italian based Formula 1 outfit, AlphaTauri “It’s not only two teams as we are supplying assistance to Haas and Alfa Romeo plus we need to understand the situation re Italian tyre supplier Pirelli.”

Liberty Media CEO Chase Carey met with F1 team bosses on Friday to discuss the latest position regarding the opening three races - Australia, Bahrain and Vietnam, with the subsequent Chinese Grand Prix already postponed and possibly cancelled. The four teams which in a worst case scenario might be unable to compete in Melbourne due to a lack of sufficient personnel understandably want clarification as to whether the race would still go ahead with just the remaining six teams.

Let’s just hope for an improvement worldwide regarding the coronavirus issue and that we can all enjoy a brilliant opening Grand Prix with all 20 cars raring to go on the grid on 15 March.